A Quick Guide To Dynamics 365 Non Production Instances

If you are using one of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 customer engagement apps, your organisation will also have access to this within a non-production (sandbox) cloud environment.

Previously, the entitlement to deploy a non-production D365 instance was only available to customers on the basis of how many licences were been activated. Happily, Microsoft has since relaxed this criteria and you will be able to add a Dynamics 365 sandbox if you are subscribed with:

  • Dynamics 365 for Sales (Enterprise)
  • Dynamics 365 for Customer Service
  • Dynamics 365 for Field Service
  • Dynamics 365 for Project Service
  • Customer Engagement Plan
  • Dynamics 365 for Marketing (standalone licence)

There is a limit of one free sandbox instance per tenant, with an option to purchase additional non-production instances. 

The Sandbox apps you can choose to deploy will depend on the licenses you've purchased. For example, if your organisation is only licenced with Sales Enterprise licences you won't be able to deploy a Customer Service non-production environment.

** MARCH 2019 UPDATE ** Microsoft has announced a new cloud storage model from 1 April that will enable multiple production and non-production instances to be deployed subject to available data storage capacity.

7 Reasons to Use Dynamics 365 Non-Production Environments

  1. Running separately from production, a sandbox instance is the location to safely develop and test app changes and new solutions with low risk.
  2. With Dynamics 365 moving to a continual deployment cycle and two major releases each year, a sandbox is increasingly important to evaluate new functions, learn about the new Unified Client Interface, run code checks and test updates before they are applied to a live environment.
  3. Sandboxes make a great environment for training.  Users can edit, add or delete any data during these sessions without fear of impacting your live system.
  4. Sandboxes offer admin controls which aren't available in a production instance including the capability to reset an instance to delete and re-provision. By restoring default settings, new projects can be started and personal data will be wiped. As such, this would provide a clean slate to prepare for a Dynamics 365 update. Also, by resetting a sandbox it free up storage space as the total cloud storage limit for Dynamics is consumed between both production and sandbox environments.
  5. Enabling Administrative Mode for sandboxes will only allows users with System Admin and System Customizer security roles to sign in and make changes. As a result, this avoids changes impacting, or being impacted by, regular users.
  6. If you are running a Dynamics pilot, a non-production environment provides is a more durable solution compared to signing up for a 30 day trial.   
  7. Use 'Copy instance' in the Dynamics 365 admin center to quickly copy all, or just a specific part of the Dynamics 365 application and data from any live instance to a Sandbox, or vice versa to apply approved customisations.

Please get in touch if you need any assistance in configuring and customising your Dynamics 365 sandbox.

READ MORE: How to add a non-production instance to your Dynamics 365 subscription

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